Hey Doc, help?
Jul 10, 2007
It's Nick again, monday morning so I thought I'd write to you again. Clearly my attempts to bribe you into answering my question with Biltong did not work. I know the chances of you replying to this are still slim, but hey I have to try. So my story, as it goes, is as follows. about 9 weeks ago I had unprotected sex with my ex-girlfriend, she is the only girl I have ever slept with and did so again while stupidly very drunk. It never really entered my mind before, having HIV, but it was brought up and I started thinking about it. Pretty soon I started browsing the web for symptoms and freaking out and before long I was sick. Not any flu-like symptoms or anything, no fever, no night sweats, no cough, no sore throat. Just an upset stomach that lasted 2 days, followed by muscle cramps and underarm pain as well as behind the legs. After my stomach got better I got burning feet, which has been going on for 3 weeks, but feels as though it is improving. The only things that are still with me is the slight underarm pain, even though nothing is swollen it still aches every now and then, and the burning feet, and odd chest pains. Behind my left knee swelled up three days ago but is going down. I also noticed what looks like two brown dots on my chest, one on either side. they look like freckles but im not really sure. Now I know my Ex was negative when I was with her, as I've had some tests, but since we broke up, who knows. I had a test at 8 weeks that came back negative but I know I have to wait for 3 months. does the 8 week test mean anything? With some symptoms of illness still around im going to see my doctor tomorrow and have blood tests done for other illness's I think as ive never been sick this long, although I wouldn't say Im sick I just have annoying things happening to me. So basically what I want to know Doc is whether it sounds like I have ARS? These two dots on my chest are freaking me out and im not sure whether that could be from ARS or not. I have never stressed so much in my whole life and I can easily say the past 2 months have been the worst of my life. So much of my life has now been consumed by worrying it makes me sick, I can't even think about the small things. I met a girl this weekend who is turning out to be amazing, but I can't even think about that because I'm worrying so much, it just takes over and I don't know if I'm just sick from worrying. Please get back to me some day Doc, i would really appreciate it. I think what you do here is amazing and is probably the one thing that has kept me going. Thanks Doc
Hope to hear from you
Response from Dr. Frascino
Actually I can't be bribed, even with Biltong, which, in case our readers have never been to South Africa, is similar to beef jerky, except it's made from the rump of cows, venison or ostrich. (By the way, I'm fairly certain it's illegal to send dried meat by mail.) But even if you were to somehow present me with a tasty piece of tail, it still wouldn't influence which questions I choose to respond to and post, OK?
The reason I haven't responded to you before is that your situation is very similar to many other questions already posted in the archives and I have nothing new to add to the advice I've already given. So I'll be brief:
1. Unprotected sex puts you at risk for STDs, including HIV.
2. Symptoms are notoriously unreliable in predicting who is and is not HIV positive.
3. The symptoms you describe are neither suggestive of nor worrisome for HIV ARS.
4. If you think you've placed yourself at risk for HIV, you need to get an HIV test at the three-month mark. Your negative eight-week test is encouraging, but not definitive.
5. Your degree of worry and anxiety are way out of proportion to any real HIV transmission risk. Counseling and anti-anxiety medication may help you cope with the stress of the window period.
Good luck, Nick!
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